Sunday, February 3, 2008

NEDA cites role of media in creating child-sensitive environment

Cagayan de Oro City – Some journalists still use judgemental words such as “drunk”, “epileptic”, “fugitive”, “escapees”, “rugby addicts,” etc. to describe children.
In fact, just this week, a local newspaper came out with a story of a woman, still considered a child because of her mental condition, who died due to bee stings.
The writer spelled out the name of the victim (who was alleged to be “sexually abused” when swamped by the bees) and those of her mother and abuser, plus a description of where it happened.
What the writer has done only corroborates the findings of a study done by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on the Philippine media’s adherence to the guidelines in covering cases about children, that the confidentiality of the victim’s name and other information had been breached.
”Per guidelines promulgated by the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) in 1999, the media should adhere to the highest ethical and professional standards in reporting and covering cases involving children,” Regional Director Myra V. Balandra of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), region 10, said.
It should also recognize that freedom of expression and the public’s right to information should go hand in hand with other fundamental human rights, including freedom from exploitation and intimidation.
Likewise, in all media coverage involving children, their best interests shall be the primary and paramount concern and that they should take into consideration the present, as well as, the long-term implications of any publicity on the child’s recovery and rehabilitation.
Thus, in a bid to create a more child-sensitive environment in the region, UNICEF through NEDA-10 has been conducting advocacy activities aimed to capacitate the media in maintaining professional standards in reporting and covering cases of children and has encouraged media practitioners to report on children’s issues and concerns.
Meanwhile, the UNICEF findings revealed that the victim’s identification could result in compromising their safety and privacy, whether they are the victims, witnesses or aggressors in the case.
“The full names of child abuse survivors and children in conflict with the law were sometimes published or enough details about their parents, residence or schools were given so that their identities could be pieced together,” it said.
Other findings in the research studies are as follows: Children are continued to be featured in articles for fund-raising purposes, which may result in potential exploitative situations.
Only a few articles attempted to raise awareness of the causes and problems affecting children without offer of causes and possible solutions and that interviews of children were rare and on the occasions when they were interviewed, these were unsupervised by adults.
Moreover, majority of the reporters did not abide by the journalistic standard of using two or more sources of information in developing their stories. (Rutchie Cabahug-Aguhob, Philippine Information Agency 10)


City Mayor Constantino G. Jaraula today said that the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office’s intensified drive against all forms of illegal activities sends a strong message for the deterrence of crimes in the city.
“This (anti-crime drive) is a message to criminals and lawless elements that we will never tolerate all forms of criminalities and illegal activities because this leadership will always run after you,” Mayor Jaraula stressed.
Jaraula and Acting City Police Director Isagani F. Genabe Jr. led this morning’s ceremonial smashing of 10 units of slot machines (˜tolilong” and video karera) and pornographic DVD tapes confiscated during another round of relentless citywide anti-crime campaign by the local police early this week.
Before the ceremonial breaking of the confiscated slot machines and lewd tapes, the different precinct commanders presented to the mayor seven suspects who were arrested for violating RA 9287 or illegal numbers game, popularly known as ˜suertres”.
Recovered from the suspects’ possession were four motorcycles allegedly used in their illegal numbers game operations, 22 tally sheets and bet money amounting to P1,126.50.
The recent police crime prevention drive also collared seven suspects for murder; one suspect for illegal possession of firearm; one suspect each for theft and robbery.
Meanwhile, Mayor Jaraula revealed that the money from the confiscated slot machines was turned over to the City Social Welfare and Development Office for its feeding program. In last week’s operation, more than P7,500 were also given to the CSWDO. (Cagayan de Oro City Information Office)


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